Opened in 1949, Joyland has always been owned and operated by the Cole family.
Engineering entrepreneur Horace Cole designed the world famous Snails and the now unique Tyrolean Tubs and these were built at the family engineering works at Steam Mill Lane in Great Yarmouth called H Cole and Co.
Horace was married to Daisy Wilson who came from a well-established traveling showman’s family. It was her background and influences that inspired Horace to create the children’s fun park that is Joyland.
It is fantastic testament to Horace that both the Snails and Tubs remain in operation today and are still as popular today with young and old alike.
Frank Cole was the eldest son and he ran the park from the beginning until he sadly passed away in 1973 when it was passed on to his brother Rueben, who was by this time also in charge of the family engineering company. Daisy and Horace had also passed away by then.
In the late 1980’s Rueben had died and Joyland passed to the third generation of Coles, Michael (Frank’s son), Margaret (Rueben’s daughter) and David (Henry’s son) who are still in charge today.
The fourth generation are on the horizon with Michaels eldest son (Michael Jnr) joining the business last year.
Joyland has seen many changes since opening its gates in 1949.
The main centre piece of the park was Noah’s Ark proudly rocking at the top of a great orange coloured mountain with 50’s style racing cars thrashing around the bottom for the budding Jim Clark to enjoy!!
In 1984 the Ark was replaced by a space shuttle style attraction called the Space Base with the old racing cars having been replaced in the mid 1970’s by rocket styled Jet Cars, which remain in the park to date.
A seahorse ride called Neptunes Kingdom which had also been designed by Horace and built at H Cole and Co was moved from a site in Gorleston (Never Never Land, operated by the Cole family) and re sited at Joyland at the same time the Jet Cars were installed in the park.
In the winter of 1996 the whole centre piece was demolished to make way for the spectacular Toytown Mountain incorporating a brand new kiddie coaster called the Spook Express.
The Jet Cars and Neptunes Kingdom were retained, running at the base of the mountain.
There have been other minor changes to the park with the introduction of junior Ferris wheels whish replaced a kiddie carousel ride. A mini Octopus and Magic Carpet came and went and junior Skydiver now sits in their old position.
The amusement arcade situated at the beach side of the park is now a family redemption centre, built originally in the mid 1950’s it sited two rides- a 12 seat rocket ride and six boats floating around “Henry Hextapus” in an enormous tank of water.
The boats were re positioned out in the park in the mid 1960’s and the rockets were “Flown” over to Never Never Land in Gorleston.
The boats were replaced by a Jumbo Kopter ride in 1980 and this was replaced by the mini Octopus a few years later.
In 1989 the Octopus was replaced by a Major Orbit ride which is there at present.
The Pirate Ship was installed in 1986 replacing an area that had been used amongst other things as a video arcade, hook a duck stall and musical traction engine with a laughing policeman sitting beside it!!!
There have been minor alterations to the track layout of the Snails and Tubs, but they basically remain as Horace intended them.
In 2003 the family opened an American themed family Diner right next to the park in the Anchor Garden on the seafront.
There are still on-going projects, improvements and refurbishments being carried out every year to the park and the Cole family are determined to keep the tradition of Joyland running for many, many years to come.